Save your Cereal boxes this Summer!

Happy Summer!  (I’m doing a summer cereal box drive locally, but there are directions at the end for how to do this wherever you are!)

I am collecting big cereal boxes (12 inches or taller) for artisans in Haiti who use them to make paper beads for their beautiful necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  They are in constant need of cereal boxes and go through them about as fast as they come in!

Trades of Hope works with women at The ApParent Project in Port Au Prince, Haiti – an “un-orphanage” that is helping with the Haitian orphan crisis by providing sustainable business to parents who would otherwise give up their children to orphanages because they were unable to feed and care for them.
So please save all your THIN (they have to roll them into beads), BIG (12 inches or taller) and colorful cereal boxes in an appropriate sized box, flatten them out and cut off top and bottom flaps, and drop them off to me on the Eastside on August 20th.  (Contact me mid-August for my address.)
Consider donating a few dollars toward shipping to Rays of Hope International, a sea container ministry in Michigan that takes care of all the customs and documentation needed to ship to Haiti.
If you don’t live here locally but would like to do this with a group and just ship them out sooner yourself, follow these detailed instructions:
Otherwise, let me know if you plan to do this and/or if you have any questions.  
 
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And check out the beautiful handiwork that our Haitian artisans are creating!
Thank you for saving what would normally be discarded to transform it (and the lives of our artisans) into something beautiful!
With Compassion and Hope,
Melanie Sunukjian
Compassionate Entrepreneur
Trades of Hope

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The Evolution of God’s Presence

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I have had the amazing privilege of being part of the lecturing team for our local women’s Bible study.  It has been one of the best spiritual communities that I have ever participated in.  And I must say that teaching adds a whole new dimension to the growth process.  You’ve got to take a good look inside before you challenge other people to do so!

Here is the final teaching on our incredible study of Exodus.  Be blessed!  (I have the audio recording, but don’t know how to link a .m4a file to this blog…Any help?)

The Evolution of God’s Presence

My daughter and I are Sound of Music fans and you may remember one of the big dilemmas in that movie was, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”  Well, this week, my big dilemma has been, “How do you sum up a Bible study on Exodus?!”  SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED!  From “Let my people go!” to “Show me your glory!”, it’s been quite a wild ride.  So let’s start by taking a few moments to Explore Exodus again…

A baby in a basket, fostered in Pharoah’s family, matures only to murder a man, and runs to a remote region.

The shy shepherd beholds a burning bush, then this hesitant head of the Hebrews engages Egypt’s evil chief. Continue reading

Care Street Bags

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Care Street Bags

My 10 year old daughter did one of her weekly presentations for our Classical Conversations homeschool co-op on helping the homeless by creating care packages to keep in your car to hand out to people on the street who are in need.  That was a long sentence.  As care packages for people who are currently living on the street, we came up with the name “Care Street Bags.”   Continue reading

THE 10 HABITS OF SPIRITUALLY EFFECTIVE (& RECEPTIVE!) PEOPLE

I like to keep track of the teachings that I have the opportunity to give from time to time, so here are my thoughts (for my local women’s Bible study) on the wonderful interaction between Jethro and Moses in Exodus chapter 18.

 THE 10 HABITS OF SPIRITUALLY EFFECTIVE (& RECEPTIVE!)  PEOPLE

In my life B.C. (Before Children), I had an awesome job as a Resident Director for five years at my alma mater, Biola University. An RD is part dorm mom, part student leadership developer, part event coordinator, part counselor/disciplinarian and 100% relational, which was right up my alley! But the demanding nature of the job put us on the fast track toward burn out, so our wonderful boss secured a grant for all the RDs to receive spiritual direction, to fill us back up and encourage us in our own spiritual growth.

I had a lovely Spiritual Director named, Betsy, who gave me much wise counsel that I still remember to this day. But the most notable came during a season of my life where I was wrestling with God. In a nutshell, I was experiencing disillusionment. My idealized Christian life where Jesus was here to make me happy, was starting to break down as losses and frustrations and weaknesses and the over all hard stuff of life was starting to crop up.

I can still remember the straw that broke the camels back, when I lost it over something relatively insignificant. Continue reading

Lenten Landmarks

 

The 40 days of Lent symbolize the 40 days that Jesus spent fasting and praying in the desert. But that number 40 was, in turn, meant to remind us of the 40 years that the Israelites spent in the desert. The Church has always seen in the Israelite’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, from bondage to liberation, an apt image of the Christian’s Lenten journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

– Albert Holtz, Pilgrim Road:  A Benedictine Journey Through Lent

When it comes to celebrating holiday seasons, we like to mix it up around here.  (In other words, Mommy goes through phases.)  And Lent has grown into a special time of teaching the kids and preparing our hearts for the gift and victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The Spirit of Lenten Past has led us to many enjoyable semi-traditions over the years:  Continue reading

The Armor of God

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We are part of a wonderful homeschool co-op called Classical Conversations.  It involves a lot of memorization of a wide variety of subjects and my 4th grader is particularly thriving at it.  (The Timeline Song is a family favorite!)  One of the passages we are memorizing is Ephesians chapter 6, one verse each week.

We just finished the section involving the armor of God and had a fun time creating armor out of cardboard, duct tape, and a silver bowl most recently used to catch our stomach flu offerings…  ={ Continue reading

This Year’s Christmas Reflection: REST

A friend asked me (and three other women) to share for 5 minutes at a local Christmas event on what God was teaching us during this Advent season.  The theme for the evening was Isaiah 9:6 and I chose to talk about Jesus as my “Wonderful Counselor.”  We had the pleasure of sharing in between beautiful worship led by Hilary and Kate.  It was a remarkable evening.

This time last year, I was VERY pregnant with my 4th child who was born December 28th.  We named our Christmas baby Karis Joy.  She is a true delight and we have all enjoyed watching her grow.  But God has been teaching me a lot through her, particularly in the area of REST.

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